The apartment we rented in Helsinki appeared to be next to a huge park that led to the water. When we walked over to see it, we discover it was a cemetery, an enormous cemetery. It was well cared for, with beautiful huge trees and some unique tombstones, thus most of this post will be photos.

There is a much copper in Finland. One sees it in roofs and decorative objects, but this is my first copper grave marker. Or polished stainless steel.

Many were somewhat more conventional, but works of art all the same.

A musician lies here.

There were a fair number of rocks.

And sometime in the late 1800s, stones like these began to become popular and then common; chunks of granite with only one polished surface. Whether it was done out of frugality or fashion I cannot say. 

 Seventeen years ago, we remodeled our kitchen and chose for the counter tops a common granite called Baltic Brown. I was in Helsinki for days before I realized my countertops were everywhere. That granite was used for cobblestone streets, curbs and sidewalks. And the granite used in St. Petersburg, Russia was all imported from Finland. As you can imagine, there were tons and tons of it here, though not that same color. Who wants a tombstone that looks like a curb? 

By the 20th century, engraving the deceased' signature became quite popular and it remains so.

Three colors of granite. Saw no plastic flowers but did see lanterns. In most of the cemetery, the trees were dense and large, as were the lilac bushes and other shrubs. 

Tools were simply left out for anyone to use.

Remember, the Finns are an honest bunch. When Readers Digest did the "lost wallet" experiement in 16 cities, 11 out 12 wallets were returned in Helsinki, thus it was declared the most honest city in the world. (In Lisbon, where Mark had his phone stolen, just one was returned, and that was by a tourist.) 

It was so nice being in a place where people were polite because that it who they are and not because they fear you'll pull a gun on them. Parents go into shops and leave the baby prams on the sidewalk. It was a clean and courteous city and never felt dangerous. 

But, back to death, this woman was life size,

As were these folks

I have never wanted to be buried and never thought I'd have a plot, but the variety and artistry of this place made me think I just might like a marker of some kind.


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